What the hell was Mike Tomlin thinking at the end of Sunday’s game?
I was too shellshocked by the loss of Le’Veon Bell to really talk about it in my game recap but the end of last weekend’s Steelers-Bengals game featured some of the worst clock management in football history. Even for a coach known as terrible at managing clocks, this was a whole new level of absurd. All season long, the Pittsburgh Steelers have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by shooting themselves in the foot. Last thing they need is their head coach joining in on the sabotage.
Let me set the scene. Bengals had first down with 2:44 left. Jeremy Hill ran up the middle for a couple yards to kill off a handful of seconds. So second down with about 2:35 left and… Nothing.
Tick-Tick-Tick. Tomlin let the clock wind down to the two minute warning despite having three (!?!) time outs at his disposal. That’s utter insanity. There’s absolutely no logic or sense for letting that time tick off.
So what was Coach T’s reasoning for not calling time out? “To me, having the timeout was more significant than the 38 seconds.” WHAT THE FREAKING HELL?!?! Does this idiot realize time outs don’t add more time to the game once it’s gone?? TIME was what the team needed, not the chance to stop the clock.
What’s mind-blowing to me is that anybody who’s played Madden Football knows how to manage the clock in that situation. Follow along, it was second down with 2:35 left. You take timeout leaving two left. Bengals run again, we stop, take time out, maybe five seconds gone with one time out left. Stop them on third down, take that final time out, the Bengals kick and we get the ball back on the other side of the two minute warning.
Instead, the Steelers didn’t get the ball back until 1:47 was left. Tomlin’s bungling cost us at least a good 25-30 seconds which Ben could’ve used on that final drive to take a couple more shots at the end zone. Which doesn’t even take into account you never know what you’re opponent will do. How many times have you seen teams trying to run out the clock throw an incomplete pass or run out of bounds to give the other side a chance?
I’ve sorta cooled on my criticism of Mike Tomlin because no matter how many bonehead things he does, he’s gonna coach the Steelers until he decides to move on. That’s just the facts. We don’t change coaches, it’s not the Steeler Way. But watching the Colts stage an epic comeback to force overtime on Monday made me think how badly Tomlin butchered the last two minutes of our game.
Andrew Luck had a chance. It’s too bad Big Ben’s head coach didn’t see fit to give him one.